Another day, another loss for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Sigh.
Monday night’s loss was a new rock bottom for the Pittsburgh Pirates. That game did not remain rock bottom for long though, as the Bucs found a new rock bottom in Tuesday night’s opening frame. As one may expect, the bottom of the 1st inning would prove to be a sign of things to come for the Pirates.
Following 10-7 loss against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night, the Pirates are now 6-18 in their previous 24 games. This skid has caused the Pirates to plummet from 26-17 to a new season-worst three games under .500 at 32-35.
With one out in the top of the 1st inning Corey Dickerson singled, Starling Marte doubled, and Colin Moran walked. The Pirates had the bases loaded and just one out, however, this is where everything started to go wrong.
Facing Clay Buchholz, Elias Diaz hit a liner toward the outfield. Arizona shortstop Ketel Marte would make a great play on the ball, starting an inning ending 6-4-3 double play. This ball left Diaz’s bat at 111 miles per hour. Had it found the outfield and plated a pair of runs then Tuesday night’s game may have gone much differently.
The bottom half of the inning then saw everything imaginable go wrong for Trevor Williams and the Pirates. A Jon Jay single, a pair of weakly hit groundballs that found the outfield, and a throwing error by Josh Bell gave the Diamondbacks a 2-0 lead.
Marte then hit a triple into the right-center gap to plate a pair. With Marte on third base and two outs, the Pirates walked Jarrod Dyson to bring up Buchholz. For some foolish reason Williams attempted to pick Dyson off first base. The throw got away from Bell allowing Marte to score from third. Josh Harrison then made a throwing error of his own trying to nail Dyson at third base which allowed Dyson to come all the way around the bases to score.
After one of the worst, most embarrassing plays anyone will ever see on the baseball diamond the Pirates found themselves trailing 6-0 with the Diamondbacks still batting in the bottom of the 1st inning.
While Williams was victimized by poor defense and some bad luck in the bottom of the 1st inning, he also was not pitching well. Marte’s triple was a rocket that left the bat at over 100 miles per hour, and Williams badly missed his spot on groundball singles by Paul Goldschmidt and John Ryan Murphy.
Arizona’s lead would grow in the bottom of the 3rd inning.
After a great month of April, Williams has struggled mightily. He entered Tuesday night with a 6.06 ERA, 4.87 FIP, and allowing 1.77 HR/9 in his previous seven starts. Williams then backed that up by allowed six runs (three earned) on eight hits, two walks, and just two strikeouts in 3 innings of work on Tuesday. After yet another poor start it is difficult to justify Williams remaining in the rotation over Nick Kingham.
In the top of the 4th inning the Pirates were able to get on the board and make the game interesting.
Diaz doubled, Bell hit a bloop single, and Gregory Polanco reached on catcher’s interference to load the bases with no outs. Jordy Mercer was then hit by a pitch, pinch hitter Sean Rodriguez walked, and Josh Harrison hit a sacrifice fly.
After Buchholz struck out Dickerson, Marte crushed a three-run home run to right field. Marte’s 8th home run of the season cut the Arizona lead to 8-6.
With Williams’ night over the Pirates and Clint Hurdle turned to Steven Brault in the bottom of the 4th inning. After a six-run top of the 4th inning got the Pirates back in the game they desperately needed a shutdown inning from Brault. But what they got was anything but.
Brault allowed a hit to Jay, walked Goldschmidt, and then gave up a single to Murphy. With the bases loaded and one out Descalso singled past a diving Moran at third base. Descalso’s hit plated a pair of runs and made the score 10-6 Diamondbacks.
After chasing Buchholz, the Pirates got a crack at Silvino Bracho in the top of the 5th inning. After Diaz drew a walk and Bell doubled to start the inning, Gregory Polanco grounded out to first base. On the groundout, Diaz scored making the score 10-7.
On the groundball, Bracho did not cover first base which gave Polanco the opportunity to beat it out. However, Polanco was barely jogging down the line which allowed Goldschmidt to make the play himself. Had Polanco hustled, the Pirates would have had runners on the corners with no one out.
After Polanco’s pathetic trip to the plate, Bracho struck out Brault. This was the first time in his Major League career that Brault struck out. Prior to the punchout, Brault had not struck out in his first 35 career plate appearances which was the third-longest streak in Major League history.
After a scoreless 5th and 6th inning from Brault, the Pirates got a pair of doubles from Bell and Moran in the top of the 7th inning. This cut the Arizona lead to 10-8. However, Dovydas Neverasukas was then tagged for a trio of runs in the bottom half of the inning to make the score 13-8 Diamondbacks.
In addition to losing 18 of their last 24 games, the Pirates have now lost eight consecutive series. This comes after the team went 10-3-1 in their first 14 series of the season. So, with this series loss, on top of being under .500 with their record, the Pirates are also now under .500 in series played this season.
The third and final game of this series is scheduled for 3:40 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon. Jameson Taillon will look to help the Pirates avoid being swept, while the Diamondbacks will counter with former Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke.